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Robert Williams

oils / pastel / charcoal

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artist biography

Robert R. Williams was born in Northeast Ohio and grew up on the Pennsylvania/Ohio state line just 7 miles from Lake Erie.  He has lived 37 of the last 46 years in the St. Joseph Michigan area.  He has a BSEE degree from Cleveland State University and did not attend art school but has taken numerous studio art classes and workshops over the years.  He has specialized in portraits since art class in seventh grade but wasn't able to take art classes in high school or college.  He studied portraiture under George Palmer from 1968 to 1972 in Buffalo, N.Y. and over the years has taken workshops from Larry Blovitts, Joseph Fettingis, Phyllis Rhoads, Robert Hoffman, Harry Ahn, Michael Shane Neal, Kerry Dunn, and at Nelson Shanks' school, Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia.


Robert's portrait medium has been pastel, oil, charcoal and recently clay sculpture.  He has completed hundreds of charcoal sketches done on location at street fairs and art fairs throughout the mid-west and has completed many commissioned pastels and oils from his studio in the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, MI where he was one of the founders and where he has been teaching portrait drawing and painting for nearly 20 years.  Besides teaching at the Box Factory, Robert teaches portrait and figure classes at the Elkhart Art Leauge in Elkhart, Indiana.  He has also taught at the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, Studio Arts in South Bend, and the Southern Shores Arts Center in Michigan City.   He has given pastel workshops at the Buchanan Art Center, Studio Arts, and the Box Factory.

Robert has exhibited in a long list of juried art fairs in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio over the last 15 years.  He won awards at the Leeper Park Art Fair, the CSAF in Marion, Ohio, The Lueznik LAF in Michigan City, IN, and at the Cass Area Art Fair in Cassopolis, MI.

He has had One Man Art Shows at the ARS Gallery in Benton Harbor (2018), Box Factory for the Arts, the Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman, MI, The Scarlet Macaw in Sawyer, MI and Lake Michigan College in Benton  Harbor, MI.  He was a featured artist at The History Museum in Dowagiac, MI (2017), the Andrews University Art Department (2016), and in previous years at Studio Arts in South Bend, Indiana and the Black Box Gallery of Marion, Ohio.  He has recently won awards in the following juried shows: The Art Barn in Valparaiso, The Chesterton Women’s Club Show, the Midwest Museum of American Art in Elkhart and The MAAC Show at the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, Michigan.  He had a piece accepted into a National show of the Pastel Society of American and recently had work accepted into a show of the Michigan Chapter of the Portrait Society of America.


Robert is a member of the Portrait Society of America, the Berrien Artist Guild (serves on the Board of Directors and was a founder of the Box Factory for the Arts), the Krasl Art Center, Northern Indiana Artists, The South Bend Pastel Society, the Chesterton Art Center and the Elkhart Art League.  He is a past member of Southern Shore Art Association in Michigan City, the Great Lakes Pastel Society, and the Midwest Museum of American Art in Elkhart, IN. 

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